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Love is an action word

1 John  •  Sermon  •  Submitted
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7/23/2017
Love is a Verb
Several things came to mind when I was thinking about this thing, Love,
that John talks about here in verses 16-18.
50 years ago last month, the music Group, the Beetles,
released what would be one of their top songs…
some of you may remember, some of you know the song even today…it was, “All you need is love.”
Plus, When I was growing up back in the 60’s,
there were lots of songs about love…
perhaps because it was also the time during which our country was involved in the unpopular Viet Nam war.
Maybe the song writers were expressing what people were longing for…
maybe that’s why the 60’s generation had the reputation of being the ‘love generation.’
It seems though that back then, that most of the time though,
whenever someone talked about or sang about ‘love,’
it usually had to do with the act of
‘making love,’
or ‘longing for someone to love them.’
Another thing that came to mind was that one of the more popular older Sunday school class names was the
“Love in Action Class”…
These classes tended to always have some project going on to try to ‘show love’ to others…
maybe to a missionary serving far away;
maybe to a poor family that lived across town;
maybe to some children at Christmas time.
If nothing else, that name, ‘love in action,’
seems to be what John is talking about here in this passage…
so maybe it might be appropriate for each and every one of us who are Christians
To remember that just maybe Jesus wants us
to be living our lives in such a way that we truly are showing
HIS ‘LOVE in Action’
in our lives.
So keeping that in mind,
Let’s read them…
(ESV) 16 By this we know love, that He laid down His life for us, and we ought to lay down our lives for the brothers. 17 But if anyone has the world’s goods and sees his brother in need, yet closes his heart against him, how does God’s love abide in him? 18 Little children, let us not love in word or talk but in deed and in truth.
1 John 3:16–18 ESV
16 By this we know love, that he laid down his life for us, and we ought to lay down our lives for the brothers. 17 But if anyone has the world’s goods and sees his brother in need, yet closes his heart against him, how does God’s love abide in him? 18 Little children, let us not love in word or talk but in deed and in truth.
In a way, John’s telling us that to show Christian love
is more than just getting some ‘good feelings’
when we read about God’s love towards us;
It's more than a 'good feeling' when we read about or hear about how this group showed love to some people…
It's more than a good feeling when we read God's Word about how a Christian is supposed to love both God and others…
in other words, just making general statements or getting spiritual highs as we read about how a Christian should
act or has acted,
really isn’t the final result…
That’s because being a Christian is instead,
as we’ve seen as we’ve moved through 1 John so far…
Being a Christian is always about a lot more than reading about or hearing or talking about Love…
it’s more than us quoting simple clichés about loving others…
it’s more than speaking holy sounding words…
Being a true Christian is about who we are…
it’s about Jesus Christ IN us…
it’s about Jesus Christ being allowed to work in our lives…
it’s about Him working IN us and THROUGH us so that HIS presence IN us SHOWS OUTWARDS towards others…
so that it SHOWS in everything we say, everything we do,
and in everything about us.
That’s because we supposedly have been transformed by Jesus the moment we were saved,
and our relationship with HIM now is guiding our relationship with Him,
and to everything and everyone else.
So what does this ‘loving in deed’ which John speaks of look like?
Well, one of the things that I love about God’s Word is that it never leaves us having to guess when it comes to how we as Christians are supposed to live our lives.
No guesswork…
of course the drawback is that we have no excuse either.
God gives us the details of what he expects…
probably because God knows us so well that He knows He can’t leave anything to us to take for granted,
because we’d no doubt get it wrong, or ignore it.
Ok. So here we have 3 verses that in fact give most people some problems at times.
And that hinges on our understanding of the word ‘love’ that is used here.
Something else that enters into the picture of our understanding is that too often,
we tend to equate the word, ‘like’ with that of the word, ‘love.’
But there are miles of difference between them.
Thank goodness this passage does not say we have to ‘like’ everyone…
Believe it or not,
IF I have to ‘like’ everyone,
then I’m in trouble, because I don’t like everyone…
so if ‘like’ and ‘love’ were tied together,
then I wouldn’t be a Christian,
and probably none of you in this room would be either.
This is because
to ‘like’ someone means that I am naturally interested in that person…
I like most of their qualities…
I like how they look…
I like their behavior…
I like their way of talk…
I like their attitude most of the time.
But the problem with LIKE, is that it boils down to this…
to like someone is not tied to anything very deep.
On the other hand,
we have to understand that this other word, LOVE,
which by the way is the Gr. word, agape…which means unconditional love…
we have to understand that to love someone the way the Bible is describing it,
Means that
we have to think in the same TERMS as God using HIS definitions…
And it starts with the main fact that God, Himself, is love…
Take a look at (ESV) which says...
1 John 4:8 ESV
8 Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love.
8 Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love.
That kind of love, agape, goes way beyond my intellect…or my emotion…
YES...it does include intellect and emotion, yes,
but it goes even deeper…
agape love overcomes all the obstacles
and all the excuses
I can ever come up with to shun another person…
it helps me overcome both the things I like,
or the things I dislike, in another person…
and it helps me to instead see the person as God sees him or her…
This means then,
that it is God’s love
in me because I have Jesus Christ IN me,
That enables me to see that person as another human being that God, Himself created…
And more importantly,
it helps me to see that person as a man or woman or boy or girl
WHOM God, Himself, loves so much that He went and gave His life for on the cross.
He did that in order to give that person the same opportunity,
just as God gave it for me and you…
Jesus did that in order to give that person the opportunity to accept what He did on the Cross,
and to receive forgiveness,
and to be able to become a part of His Kingdom of Light…
and if that man or woman or boy or girl DOES repent
and DOES puts his or her trust in Jesus Christ to be his or her Savior and Lord,
then that person enters into a new relationship with God.
What God did is looking way beyond LIKING someone.
This is why says...Greater love has no man than this, than to lay down his life for His friends.
John 15:13 ESV
13 Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends.
So when we as Christians then ‘love’ someone else,
it means that we actually treat them as though we do like them,
even though perhaps we don’t.
And fortunately, again the Bible does not ask or tell us to ‘like’ the brethren…
but the Bible tells us to LOVE the brethren.
Again, we might not LIKE them,
but because you love them, you go beyond the ‘liking’ and you love them.
Another issue we have to deal with is the thing of ‘who is my brother?’
Is that a reference to just anyone?
Is it to my biological relative?
The answer is both yes, and no…
You see, actually, the word, brother, is found in both the Old and New Testaments of the Bible,
And it usually refers to either a family member,
or to a person who is part of one of the tribes of Israel,
or the house of Israel or Judah,
or to a fellow follower of Jesus Christ.
And here, in 1 John, the word, brother,
or ἀδελφός,
as in the New Testament,
according to the Bible Dictionary,
says that, “Adelphós also came to designate a fellowship of love equivalent to a community of life (church) (; ; , ; ). In this manner Jesus speaks of His brethren (; ; ; ; , ). The members of the same Christian community are called brothers in ; .
Zodhiates, S. (2000). The complete word study dictionary: New Testament (electronic ed.). Chattanooga, TN: AMG Publishers.”
So when John says, ‘brothers,’ here,
we know that John is talking about church members, or brothers and sisters in Christ…
again, fellow believers.
By the way, back then, there was only ONE church…
no denominations.
Plus, in the context here,
we also know that John has been talking to the church…
we therefore, have to understand that John is referring to ‘loving’ brothers and sisters in Christ.
And yes, this is where the Social Gospel advocates went off and placed emphasis on persons outside the church only…
I remember growing up when this became popular and our own pastor started that emphasis
and only wanted to give benevolence help to people outside the church
because he believed that was the humanitarian thing to do since he was reading the Bible because Jesus commanded it…
But, it isn’t correct according to Scriptures…
But, here’s the Catch 22…at the same time, we must also understand that there is the implication that
we’re not supposed to ignore people in need outside of the church family…
I think the story of the Good Samaritan is a good example of showing love to everyone.
YET this teaching here in is specifically about loving one another as Christians.
And if you stop and think about it…
IF we can’t or won’t LOVE fellow Christians,
then how are we going to be able to love people who aren’t Christians?
Ok, ok, so some Christians aren’t that loveable.
I get it.
But regardless, This loving our brothers and sisters in Christ
is what verse 17 is talking about…
But if anyone has the world’s goods and sees his brother in need, yet closes his heart against him, how does God’s love abide in him?
It is really easy to come to church, study a Bible Study lesson in a class room…
it’s easy to attend a LifeGroup and read a study guide in the comfort of someone’s home…
it’s easy to have a missions meeting to study about missionaries in the comfort of a nice room…
it’s each to sit and listen to a message from the pulpit…
but when we see a brother or sister in Christ in need…
or when we see another human being in need,
and we look the other way because we’ve closed our hearts…
how is all our
‘feel-good’ studying helping to meet that person where he or she has the need?
How is that showing Jesus Christ in us?
Again…the story of the Good Samaritan () hits it…
Here was that priest
(or the Pastor or the Elder)
And he saw the guy who had been robbed and beaten…
and he crossed over to the other side of the road to walk on by him…
maybe the priest or pastor was in a hurry to get to an important meeting…who knows. But the implication is that his heart was all wrong.
Next came a Levite, another professional religious guy,
and he does the same thing…
he crosses over and walked on by…
maybe he had to go work with a church planter,
or he had an important denominational meeting to get to…
but he walked on by, instead of helping this guy.
Again...a heart issue.
And then here came the Samaritan,
an outcast because his background wasn’t right…renegades...half-breeds...as the Jews saw the Samaritans...
Definitely not liked at all by the Jews…
and we know that he saw the man,
and felt compassion, and did what was right.
He didn’t close his heart…
he apparently had God’s love abiding in himself, and he acted.
Paul gives us a great statement on love in
…the ‘love passage.’
In fact, this passage pretty much sums up what I’ve been sharing with you.
We can go around making a lot of noise, we can think that speaking in tongues makes us more holy,
But we're only like that of a clanging gong or cymbal which Paul spoke of,
That's why Paul said that IF I don’t have LOVE,
then I’m nothing.
Sure, people will notice…
but like Paul went on to say, what good is that?
Instead, the greatest of all gifts is that of LOVE…love is action…
love is patient…
So let's show patience towards our brothers and sisters in Christ;
Love is kind…
So let's show kindness towards our brothers and sisters in Christ;
Love does not boast nor envy…
you don’t need to boast or be envious;
Love isn’t arrogant or rude…
So let's show Jesus instead of our ATTITUDES.
Love doesn’t insist on its own way…
In fact, it’s NOT about you anyway…
it’s about God.
Love doesn’t get irritable or resentful…
So let's show love towards our brothers and sisters in Christ;
Love doesn’t rejoice in wrongdoing, rejoices with the truth…
don’t go and get all happy whenever a brother or sister in Christ whom you don't really like goes and is wronged by someone else, or suffers some kind of loss.
Love bears all things, believes all things hopes all things;
Love endures all things…
love never ends…
faith, hope, and love abide…
but the greatest of these is love.
Show the Love of Christ in you to your church family;
Show the Love of Jesus in you
to other Christians,
and to the world.
PUT LOVE INTO ACTION in your LIFE.
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